Posts in Global
Sitges, its beaches, and the Corpus Christi Flower Festival

I feel a little guilty saying that my favorite place on our trip was actually not even in Barcelona, but the neighboring beach town, Sitges. (Sitges and its beaches - it rhymes!) My mom and I loved it so much, we made our way to Sitges twice. I haven’t actually been to Greece, but the relaxed pace, olive oil everything, and style of buildings were reminiscent of what I imagine Greece to be like – I guess it’s the Mediterranean coastal life! I just loved the simple, colorful buildings, and the maze of narrow, pedestrian-only cobblestone streets.

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Barcelona, where all the little things are wonderful

This is probably not quite "local" enough to fit the title of this blog, but it’s been two weeks since I returned from my trip to Barcelona and I wanted to finally share some pictures! It was probably the most well-timed vacation I have ever taken; I departed for España on essentially the last day of my big project at work (and it already is rare to only have one project at work). Because I was busy leading up to our day of departure, I hadn’t done much research on what to do or expect, which made the whole trip exciting and novel. Going into the trip, all I expected was a city full of color and energy, which turned out to very much true!

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A perfect ending with majestic Fitz Roy

Today was not only my last full day in El Chalten, but the last full day of my entire trip to Patagonia. Tomorrow, I begin the long travels back to the United States. I awoke early so that I could make the most of my day. I set off to wander the town and buy some snacks for my hike, and found a cute bakery and coffee shop. Most of the stores and restaurants hadn't opened yet, and similar to the 3rd day of my Torres del Paine trek, I relished the quiet and calm of the early morning.  My hike today was titled Laguna de los Tres, and promised spectacular views of Mount Fitz Roy. I decided again to hike alone and soak up the last part of my solo adventure.

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Nestled in the mountains

Yesterday was my last day in El Calafate, which I was pretty happy about, since I felt like I had seen everything there was to see in the small town. I caught a 7:30 am bus from the terminal to El Chalten, known as the national capital of trekking. (I'm beginning to think that every town in Patagonia is known as "a paradise for hikers" of some sort.)

The bus ride was absolutely beautiful, and I kicked myself in the foot for not arriving earlier to the bus terminal to snag a better seat with a full window view. The road in front of us, winding straight into the mountains ahead, was a perfectly teasing preview of the scenery awaiting us in El Chalten..

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A quick day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier

I woke up early to book a tour to the Perito Merino Glacier, which is pretty much El Calafate's sole attraction. Located only about 50 miles from the small town, the Perito Moreno Glacier, part of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, is one of the few glaciers in Patagonia that, despite global warming, is actually growing.

I initally wanted to book an ice trek, where you can actually go on the glacier with crampons, but the tour was full, since they only have one per day. I was a disappointed initially, but decided that I was probably too tired to have enjoyed it. I also did a glacier trek on the Franz Josef Glacier when I studied abroad in New Zealand, so I told myself I wasn't missing anything.

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Torres del Paine W Trek: Day 5

I barely slept last night. I think the anticipation of getting up for sunrise kept me up, and I last looked at my watch at 12:30 am, thinking "If I go to bed right at this second, I'll get 3 hours of sleep."

I woke up to my alarm at 3:20 am, crawled out of my bunk bed as quietly as possible, and quickly chugged the cold cup of coffee I had reserved from the day before. Already dressed in my clothes for the day, I grabbed my headlamp, jacket, small daypack with food and water, and trekking poles - ready and out the door within 5 minutes of waking.

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Torres del Paine W Trek: Day 4

With two glasses of wine the previous night, I woke up on my fourth day from a deep, restful sleep. The sun was shining when I stepped outside of my dome tent, and had melted away the fog that yesterday had enshrouded the mountain beside us. I was really looking forward to today, as it was our penultimate day and we were approaching the prize of our multi-day trek: the famous Torres. The iconic Torres, three majestic standalone rock towers, have become the celebrity face of the Torres del Paine National Park and its treks. Many people visit the park on a day trip just to hike to the Torres. 

After a quick breakfast (just cheese and bread), I set off before my camping friends to walk alone. "Alone" meaning without the intention of walking with anyone else, but as I had already learned over the past couple days, it's nearly impossible to be alone on the trail. 

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